Neapolitans know interior designer Lisa Kahn as the force behind her eponymous design studio as well as the Finding Sanctuary blog and e-commerce site that sells home goods for creating peaceful environs. She’s also the board president of the STARability Foundation and mother of 21-year-old Chloe, who has developmental and intellectual disabilities. The Naples nonprofit foundation works to transform the lives of individuals with disabilities by providing social, vocational, and educational connections, and Chloe has been enriched by its extracurricular programs.
STARability has been seeking ways to provide a diverse and steady income stream and opportunities for employment and vocational training for the 30 participants of its Trailblazer Academy and Junior Trailblazer Academy. In early 2019, it opened a home decor and art thrift store, STAR Store Upscale Resale & Stellar Art, in the Naples Design District. It also launched its STAR*Made Studio, which is making natural soy wax candles.
Kahn embraced the purpose behind STAR*Made Studio and developed two candles that are being sold exclusively through Finding Sanctuary. Kahn worked with a California essential oils expert to develop two scents: “Grounding,” a combination of lavender, bergamot, sandalwood, and white sage, and “Soothing,” a blend of lavender and vetiver.
Kahn says STARability provides life-enriching opportunities for disabled young adults after they age out of the local school system at 21. The candle-making enterprise was carefully developed to accommodate the studio creators’ wide range of capabilities. Plans call for expanding the line of “products with purpose” to other home items and collaborating with corporate partners to buy in bulk or create corporate-branded candles.
“When you’re the parent of a child with intellectual and developmental disabilities, you wonder what their life path is like,” Kahn says. “STARability provides resources for these families. It’s been the best partnership ever.”